Club logo.  A red circle containing a green map of the state of Virginia, the ARRL logo, and the text "Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society, Richmond, Virginia U.S.A."

Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society
W4RAT ยท Richmond, Virginia

An ARRL Affiliated Club Serving Central Virginia Since 1972

Helpful Tips for New Net Participants

Here are some quick pointers to help new hams confidently participate in local nets:

  • Net Control is in charge.  Think of them as a moderator.  They'll take check-ins at near the start of the net and periodically thereafter.  Listen closely to what Net Control is asking for.  Whether it's a SKYWARN activation or a weekly club net, Net Control will want specific information from you when you check in.  They'll tell you what they're looking for and in what format.

  • Check-ins to our weekly nets are usually a one-turn affair:  you check in, and you are called once for comments.  If you wish to make additional comments later, great!  Please wait for the next round of check-ins and ask for a re-check.  You don't typically need to check out from one of our weekly nets, but listen for directions from Net Control.

  • Most weekly nets prioritize check-ins in at least two groups:  mobiles and portables, and everyone else (general check-ins).  The idea is to take calls first from folks on battery power or who might be at risk of moving out of range.  Mobiles and portables are of course welcome to join with the general check-ins but would be called a little later in the net.

  • When checking in, please state if you have traffic for the net.  What constitutes traffic?  It depends on the net, but we're not necessarily talking about formal message traffic (NTS, etc).  For a weekly club net, any kind of announcement of interest to net participants would be considered traffic.  If you have something specific to announce to the participants of the net, when you check in, indicate "with traffic" or "with an announcement" or similar.  Net Control will often call stations with traffic first so that their announcement can get out early on during the net.  Stations who check in with no traffic would still be called to make other comments when it's their turn.  Checking in with no traffic does not mean you do not want to be called to make comments.

  • Some stations wish to make their presence known ("get on the list") without being called later for comments.  These are called in-and-out check-ins and they're permitted on the weekly RATS and R1 ARES nets.  Some nets will designate check-in periods specifically for in and out check-ins.  In-and-outs sometimes have their participation noted in the net logs but should not be called for comments at any point during the net.  Nets on DMR, HF, and on repeaters outside this area, there is often an initial round of check-ins for short time stations -- those who need to go first due to availability.

  • When checking in to a net on our analog repeater, key your microphone, announce "this is" and then unkey and listen for a couple seconds.  If you don't hear any signs of other stations the moment you unkey, continue your check-in:  "alpha bravo four charlie delta echo, mobile, no traffic."  Done correctly by all parties this greatly reduces doubling and tripling during check-ins.  (This step is naturally not required on DMR as long as your admit criteria is set to "color code free.")

  • Remember to slow down a bit during the check-in process so Net Control has a chance to write down all of your information.  Give your call sign phonetically and slowly when checking in to a net.

  • From time to time, you may wish to speak directly to another station who is checked in to the net.  This is called going direct.  Suppose K4ABC asks a question during his check-in and a few minutes later it's your turn and you might have an answer but need more information.  When you are called to take your turn for the net, ask Net Control, "may I go direct with K4ABC?"  Net Control will of course say yes, and then you make your call and converse as you normally would ("K4ABC, this is AB1CDE".)  Keep the interaction brief and when you're done, turn it back over to Net Control.

  • Identification requirements of FCC 97.119 still apply:  you must identify once every 10 minutes during an ongoing conversation, and at the end of your conversation.  You give your call sign when checking in so that much is covered, but don't forget to ID at the end of your comments, before passing it back to net control.

If you are ever unsure about procedures for a net, check in and when it's your turn, ask!  Net Control is here to help.

Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society, Inc. (RATS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. PO Box 70613, Henrico VA, 23255
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